When was the last time you saw a room full of color-coded files in your health provider’s office? If it was recently, then your provider is part of the approximately 10% of providers who still update and maintain their patients’ (your) records by hand and on paper. Today, nearly 90% of office-based health providers are using some form of electronic health record (EMR/EHRs) system.
Today’s current adoption rate of 10% is almost a mirror image of what the EMR/EHR adoption rate was nearly a decade ago. Back then nearly 90% of health providers maintained and stored paper records, keeping them in the familiar color-coded folders we instantly recognize as containing our medical history. Of course a decade ago most of us weren’t as security savvy as we are today. We thought nothing of the unsecured and unattended bundles of paper, containing not only our personal information but our financial documents as well...just sitting there.
Welcome to the digital age
Ironically it was adapting to life in the digital age which has caused most of us to take security, whether online or on paper a lot more seriously. Moreover, for those of us who have experienced a natural disaster, the thought of critical, even life-altering information being stored on paper, gives us pause. Unfortunately, many of us remember trying to locate the only copy of an essential document in piles of wet papers, wishing we had the foresight to at least scan it and save it to the cloud.
Now imagine such a disaster happening in a medical office with reams of paper documents and trying to recreate your medical history. An EMR/EHR system makes the recovery of data as simple as retrieving a backup. This process is no different than any other form of backup and recovery solution and is based on current best practices.
Further, while EMR/EHR systems offer increased security, their real value comes in the form of better patient outcomes, reduced costs and increased collaboration between medical professionals. Traditionally, the most significant cause of increased healthcare costs are due in part to inefficient patient care,or errors based on paperwork. These errors can take two forms. One is medical record inaccuracies, the other is the inability for the sharing of patient data between medical professionals. When an EMR/EHR solution is implemented, the incidences of data-driven errors are significantly reduced.
The Benefits of EMR/EHR include:
- Increased security:
Security is on top of everyone’s mind these days, particularly cybersecurity.
However, despite the justified concerns, there are steps a business can put in place to secure their data. That being said, I think we all can agree that a properly secured network will be magnitudes more secure than a locked file cabinet or a chart left on a nurse’s station.
- Increased Communication:
A significant contributor to medical cost, is due to redundancy, as tests and examinations are sometimes needlessly repeated due to a lack of documentation and uncertainty that the test was completed. With an EMR/EHR in place, physicians will be able to see which previous tests were performed, reducing the need to ‘rather be safe than sorry’ and run the same test again.
- Patient Safety:
With an EMR/EHR system in place, providers have a complete record of their patient’s medical history. This reduces the risk of misdiagnosis due to incomplete or erroneous information, including the patient’s error in reporting their health concerns. Drug prescription history and interactions are readily available, all which leads to better patient outcomes.
Converting your practice over from paper files to an EMR/EHR interface will do more than increase patient satisfaction, information security and reduce costs; it will also allow you to remain competitive. In today’s security-conscious environment, an office with piles of paper exposed may be considered as performing at a lower level than their competitors. Not only does utilizing an EMR/EHR system make good medical sense, it makes good business sense as well.
For more information about emergency medical/health records, and how KT Connections can present options for your practice, contact us at 605-341-3873.